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Repudiation of Bush Foreign Policy is the Only Solution in Iraq
September 23, 2003
By Martin Eden

The Bush administration got us into this Iraqi mess, but we won't get out of it by staying the course with their mistaken policies. They were wrong about weapons of mass destruction and ties to 9/11, and they are wrong to continue sacrificing the lives of our troops in this quagmire. The president says we are fighting in Iraq so we won't have to fight in the streets of America. Wrong again. This is about the streets of Iraq, where Arab nationalists and Islamic jihadists are banding together to drive us out. We are on their ground, and we will lose our appetite for this costly guerilla war long before they do.

The Bush team failed to anticipate or adequately plan for the problems that experts warned would explode in postwar Iraq. They are compounding this inexcusable miscalculation by asking for help on terms unacceptable to nations that can provide it. We are indeed responsible for the mess we created, which is why we must do the right thing and abandon the objective of controlling Iraq and its oil resources. The Bush rationale for this war has shifted like the desert sands, but there has been one constant - the determination to privatize the Iraqi oil industry and keep it firmly in their corporate grasp.

The notion that all this blood and treasure is being spent to liberate and democratize the Iraqi people may play well with those who fly flags from their SUVs, but it is not so readily accepted by the beneficiaries of this largesse. Any government we install will lack legitimacy, and its longevity will depend on our capacity to sustain an occupying force. Bush is no doubt willing to do whatever it takes to hold on to his investment, but the dividends from Iraq will not fill the coffers of the American people.

Only by relinquishing control can we demonstrate good intentions. Interim authority should be transferred to the United Nations without delay. While retaining control of our own forces, we need to withdraw them as soon as practical. Most of the $87 billion requested by Bush was targeted for the military occupation. By significantly reducing this cost we can increase our funding of reconstruction to repair what we destroyed.

The withdrawal of our troops is by no means a retreat in the battle against terrorism. It is a necessary step in alleviating the causes of terrorism. Invading and occupying Islamic countries will not bring us security - only more violence. Our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq have already killed more than three times as many innocent civilians as died on September 11, and our history of support for repressive regimes, including that of Saddam Hussein, contradicts the ideals we proclaim. They don't hate us for our freedoms - they blame us for their problems, and not entirely without reason.

America itself is not wrong - it remains a beacon of hope in a world of despair. What's wrong is a destructive foreign policy that alienates friends and recruits enemies. What's wrong is a war on terror that perpetuates itself and serves the interests of those who profit by it. What's wrong is an administration that exploits the grief, fear, and patriotism of the American people in order to stifle debate and implement foreign and domestic agendas far more radical than anything espoused by candidate Bush.

9/11 did not change everything. The neoconservatives now in positions of power and influence in the Bush administration - Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and other charter members of the Project for the New American Century - were pushing for regime change in Iraq and the expansion of US military dominance long before that fateful day in September. The atrocity that struck America was their golden opportunity and they stopped at nothing - manipulating intelligence and making false claims to wrest war powers from Congress - to further their delusional ambitions for a Pax Americana.

And they truly were deluded for thinking this Iraqi adventure would be a cakewalk, or that it would make us safer or stronger. Our military is badly overextended, our nation is sinking deeper in debt, and al Qaeda is rebuilding while we're fighting a guerrilla war in a country that had no hand in 9/11, posed no imminent threat, and was not a mecca for terrorists - until now. Now our commander-in-chief tells us Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, and that we must do whatever it takes to achieve "total victory."

The problem with Mr. Bush's war is that it can never be won - it can only be perpetuated. When are the American people going to wake up and turn down this betrayer of the public trust? When are the Democrats going to realize that being strong on national defense does not consist of continuing the disastrous policies the public was deceived into supporting? Some politicians opposed the war before it began, but very few are now bold enough to suggest abandoning this misbegotten adventure.

The only viable option is to thoroughly repudiate this president, his chief advisors, and their foreign policy. If our elected representatives in Washington had any real sense of duty they would commence impeachment proceedings for the high crimes of presenting false evidence to Congress in matters of war. But Republicans control both houses, so regime change in Washington will have to wait until the 2004 election. In the meantime, every effort must be made to expose the mendacity and criminal mismanagement of this administration. It will take a popular uprising to bring down the neocons that hijacked our country. Let's do whatever it takes to bring our troops home and bring a better democracy to America.

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